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White Croats (Byelohravati) is the designation for the group of Slavic (Croatian) tribes who settled near Przemyśl. Their homeland, defined by Edward Gibbon as "the inland regions of Silesia and Lesser Poland", has occasionally been referred to as White Croatia. The term "white" among nomadic peoples of euroasiatic steppes meant "western", the other directions being named: red – "south", black – "north" and green – "east".
The White Croats territory could have been quite vast, it is possible that it included land as far as Kiev (now Ukraine). Its exact location is still the subject of discussion, as well as their genesis. Some historians[who?] present opinions, that ancient Croats were of Scytho-Sarmatian origin.
In the 7th century AD, seven tribes led by 5 brothers (Kluk, Lobel, Muhlo, Kosjenc and Hrvat) and 2 sisters (Buga and Tuga) migrated to Dalmatia (the coastal part of today's Croatia) as part of the migration of the Croats in the 7th century, being invited to settle on this vastly depopulated area by Roman (Byzantine) Emperor Heraclius (610–641) in order to establish a shield against the Avars for his state.
In the late 10th century, one of the White Croat states, the duchy of Libice, was ruled by Slavnik's dynasty. In 995 Czech warriors of the Vršovci family from Bohemia attacked and murdered the Slavnik's (d. 981) descendants at Libice. Three surviving brothers: Soběslav (Sobiebor) (the eldest, at that time at war against Obotrites as the Polish prince Boleslaw's and German emperor Otto III's ally), Vojtěch (later the Christian saint and the martyr) and Radim Gaudentius sought shelter in Poland under the rule of Boleslav the Brave, with whom the Slavnik's family had friendly relationships, as Slavnik's duchy tried to maintain its independence from Prague Přemyslid dynasty. Soon the war between the Polish duke and Czechs' ruler, Boleslav III the Red, broke out (this time after Vršovci family extermination by Czech prince, the remnants seeking refuge in Poland), leading the Polish Boleslav the Brave to having a temporary control of Prague. Soběslav, living in Poland after the Libice massacre of his family, was killed by Czechs defending a bridge near Prague shielding the retreat of Polish forces from the Czech capital in 1004.
It is interesting to add that according to some American documents from the beginning of 20th century there were about 100,000 immigrants to the US born around Krakow who declared themselves to be Bielo-Chorvats, i.e. White Croats by nationality.